Further exposure for Belarusian football in MyCujoo PPV deal

FC Minsk v FC Dinamo-Minsk during the Belarus Championship on March 28, 2020 (Photo by SERGEI GAPON/AFP via Getty Images)

Football streaming platform MyCujoo is offering pay-per-view coverage of today’s Belarus Cup semi-finals after striking a rights agreement covering 47 territories.

The deal, which was negotiated with GreenFieldSolutions, the Geneva-based rights agency, increases the international distribution for Belarusian football at a time when most competitions worldwide have been halted because of the Covid-19 shutdown.

MyCujoo, which has also guaranteed production and streaming of most matches from this season’s Tajikistan Higher League, another league that continues to be played, is streaming today’s first legs of the Slaviya Mozyr-Bate Borisov and Dinamo Brest-Shakhtyor ties. The matches are priced at €1.99 ($2.16) apiece.

MyCujoo added global pay-per-view streaming of Cyprus’ top-tier Cyta Championship at the end of 2019 in a departure from its standard model of providing advertising-funded free streaming.

The agreement between MyCujoo and GreenFieldSolutions just covers today’s matches, but SportBusiness understands that it could be extended to include the remainder of the competition and matches from the country’s top-tier Vysheyshaya Liga. Both the Belarus Cup and domestic league fall under the auspices of the Belarus Football Federation (ABFF).

The league has attracted media attention for its decision to keep playing and the accompanying interest from international broadcasters whose schedules have been decimated.

Recent rights deals stuck by GreenFieldSolutions, which is headed by former Sportfive rights executive Kai Poppendieck, have included deals in the Balkans (SportKlub), Israel (Channel 5), Russia (Match TV) and Poverkhnost (Ukraine), along with a streaming agreement in India. Rights to Belarusian football are also now being traded by Content Arena, the online media-rights trading platform.

The 2019-20 Vysheyshaya Liga season began on March 19 and clubs have continued to fulfil their fixtures with Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s president, downplaying the need for the public to adopt social distancing measures.

Meanwhile, MyCujoo has committed to producing and live streaming the majority of matches from the Tajikistan Higher League, one of the few other football leagues that continues to be played.

MyCujoo, which signed an exclusive three-year digital rights agreement with the Tajikistan Football Federation in 2018, said: “The TFF will also directly benefit from the updated agreement, as the expansion in live streams will ensure greater revenue flows to the federation for reinvestment in the game.”

MyCujoo and the TFF said that they would be monetising the league through a tie-up with Genius Sports, the sports data and live streaming company, and via brand opportunities on and off platform around live and on-demand content. The matches are shown on MyCujoo free of charge.

Last weekend’s Tajik Super Cup attracted an audience that was ten times higher than usual, MyCujoo said, as fans seek out live football coverage.

The TFF told Reuters that is hopes the popularity of the league grows further in the coming weeks and that offers for (linear) broadcast rights deals would be welcome. The federation added: “But it’s too early to say something concrete. The league season starts on Sunday, let’s see what will happen.”

Pedro Presa, MyCujoo’s chief executive, said: “We’re thrilled to be able to support the TFF in guaranteeing the production of these matches, and provide fans globally with an outlet to safely watch live football at this unparalleled time in the game, and generate crucial revenues for the federation/league.

“Our truly global footprint enables MyCujoo to support the delivery of live broadcasting where it is safe to do so, and the well-being of all in the football community is at the forefront of our thinking in how we work together with our partners to continue to engage their communities.”